Lime juice is an important ingredient in many southwestern, Caribbean, and Latin America dishes. You can also combine it with water and sugar to make limeade, a puckery-sweet drink that rivals lemonade. It's easy to make your own lime juice from fresh limes, and freshly squeezed lime juice is far more flavorful than the bottled concentrate from the grocery store. Read on to learn how to make lime juice.
Things You'll Need
- Fresh, whole limes
- A sharp knife a bowl or jar
- A citrus juicer (optional)
- A fine grater (optional, for making lime zest)
Select your limes. Limes are generally small—about half the size of your fist—and should have a glossy skin that is deep, bright green with a little bit of yellow. The fruit should be firm but with a little bit of give—not too squishy but not rock hard, either.
Fresh, whole limes can be stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for a week or two, and even longer in a cool root cellar. They may also be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks or more, although their pungency will diminish over time. If you refrigerate your limes, allow them to come to room temperature before juicing.
To make lime juice, first wash and dry your limes, then slice each one in half with a sharp knife.
If you have a citrus juicer, press or squeeze the lime halves according to the directions of your juicer.
Otherwise, simply squeeze each lime half over a bowl or jar until all the juice is extracted. If you are squeezing limes by hand, you might need to strain or scoop out any seeds or pulp that fell into the juice. Each lime will yield 1 to 2 tbsp. of juice.
Freshly squeezed lime juice is best used immediately, but it can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. You may also freeze lime juice in ice cube trays, then transfer the frozen cubes to a zipper-topped bag. Frozen lime juice can be kept for six months or more.
Don't throw that rind away. You can use the spent lime peel to make lime zest. Gently rub the outside of the lime against a fine grater. Be sure to only grate off the very outside of the peel—the colored part—and not the bitter white pith. Fresh lime zest should be used immediately. You can also dry it in a food dehydrator or a very low-heat oven and store it for two to three months.